On Rejection

Writing is being rejected.

Or at least that’s the best that I can figure.

Because no matter how much you sell, odds are that you have multiple rejections for each of those pieces that some editor somewhere has finally understood the ineffible genius of and paid you for. Tens, dozens, maybe hundreds of rejections.

Writing is a weird kind of masochism.

And then there’s the phenomenon my friend and fellow WOTFian Steven Gaskell has dubbed ‘rejectomancy’: that is, “the dark art of analysing a rejection letter” and the endless parsing of phrases like while there’s some nice writing and just didn’t work for me.

So it’s always reassuring to hear stories about great, successful writers and artists who were rejected out of hand multiple times before hitting it big. Just remember that the same guy at Decca Records who rejected The Beatles rejected The Rolling Stones two years later (how did that guy keep his job!?!) And how many publishers was it rejected Harry Potter again?

While getting rejected is never fun (sometimes I’m fairly cavalier about getting turfed, other times–depending on my day at work, the phase of the moon, what I had for dinner, etc.–I take it harder than that) after seeing this article in The Guardian I can take heart that while the likes of Andy Warhol and Gertrude Stein also got rejected, at least I never got a rejection letter as, umm, explicit? as the one Jimi Hendrix got from Uncle Sam…

– S.

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One Response to On Rejection

  1. Ah yes, rejectomancy, I know it well.

    Somewhere Jay Lake has an interesting breakdown of how many rejections he has received. If I stumble across it again, I’ll forward it to you.

    – John

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